Data_Sheet_1_Environmental Factors Driving Spatial Heterogeneity in Desert Halophile Microbial Communities.xlsx (19.32 kB)
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Data_Sheet_1_Environmental Factors Driving Spatial Heterogeneity in Desert Halophile Microbial Communities.xlsx

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posted on 20.10.2020, 04:55 by Gherman Uritskiy, Adam Munn, Micah Dailey, Diego R. Gelsinger, Samantha Getsin, Alfonso Davila, P. R. McCullough, James Taylor, Jocelyne DiRuggiero

Spatial heterogeneity in microbial communities is observed in all natural ecosystems and can stem from both adaptations to local environmental conditions as well as stochastic processes. Extremophile microbial communities inhabiting evaporitic halite nodules (salt rocks) in the Atacama Desert, Chile, are a good model ecosystem for investigating factors leading to microbiome heterogeneity, due to their diverse taxonomic composition and the spatial segregation of individual nodules. We investigated the abiotic factors governing microbiome composition across different spatial scales, allowing for insight into the factors that govern halite colonization from regional desert-wide scales to micro-scales within individual nodules. We found that water availability and community drift account for microbiome assembly differently at different distance scales, with higher rates of cell dispersion at the smaller scales resulting in a more homogenous composition. This trend likely applies to other endoliths, and to non-desert communities, where dispersion between communities is limited. At the intra-nodule scales, a light availability gradient was most important in determining the distribution of microbial taxa despite intermixing by water displacement via capillary action.

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